Tag: Will Kennedy

AFL Draft preview: Hawthorn

HAWTHORN has the weakest draft hand in the league after trading some of their picks for ready-made players such as Chad Wingard in the hope of staying at the top of table. But with an ageing list, Hawthorn will be looking to inject some more speed and another key forward to help-out Jarryd Roughead into their side.

List needs:

  • Key forward
  • Defensive small forward

Draft selection: 53, 90

Entering into the draft at pick 53 Hawthorn will be hoping to acquire a key forward who will be able to help out in their attacking 50. It will depend who is available but if the likes of Will Kennedy and Dillon O’Reilly are still there they will be a valuable asset to the Hawks. Both Kennedy and O’Reilly have a good goal sense, strong hands and an ability to read the flight of the ball. Though it might take some time for them to fully develop and compete at AFL level they have plenty of upside and will be a good inclusion for the Hawks. Other possibilities for Hawthorn is Hugo Munn or Murray Bushrangers forward Hudson Garoni who has proved he can be a handful to maintain up forward.

If by some chance Bailey Williams slides he will be hot on Hawthorns list with his silky skills, gut running and impressive ability to hit the scoreboard. Williams has strong hands under pressure taking plenty of contested grabs and has proven his versatility spending some time in the ruck.

Next Generation Academy member Irving Mosquito has given Hawthorn fans plenty to be excited about with comparisons between cult hero Cyril Rioli. Mosquito has plenty of speed to burn and is deadly around the goals with his quick and clean hands and ability to get into damaging positions. The Gippsland Power player is lively across the ground and applies plenty of pressure to trap the ball inside attacking 50. He would be a great pick up for the Hawks who will be looking to replace the likes of livewire Rioli and the ageing Paul Puopolo who is coming into the twilight of his career.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Preliminary Finals

THE final four became two with wins to Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers over Sandringham Dragons and Gippsland Power respectively. We took a look at some of the combine invitees from the day, as well as the Under 17 Futures players.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons


By: Ed Pascoe

#9 Zac Foot

Foot had his moments showing his talent with his run and ability to get forward into dangerous positions. Despite playing an outside role he was not afraid to get his hands dirty and win the contested ball in the first quarter. He kicked a nice running goal in the second quarter to add to his sides total. Foot made a few mistakes including kicking into the man on the mark in the second quarter and a few errors were made with ball in hand, but his run and strength in one on ones shone above his few mistakes. Foot finished with 14 disposals, four marks and one goal. 

 #13 Riley Bowman

Bowman had a solid outing playing in the ruck and up forward and he got better and better as the game went on. Bowman showed nice defensive efforts which was on display early with a good chase in the first quarter. He showed his nice movement for his size in a contest up forward where he was able to get around multiple opponents although he was unable to turn that into a scoring opportunity. Bowman had some wasteful kicks inside 50 but he was able to hit up Williams for a nice pass inside 50. Bowman finished with 12 disposals, eight tackles, six inside 50s and 21 hitouts. 

 #15 Toby Bedford

Bedford was impressive once again for Dandenong with his excitement around the ball really catching the eye and he proved a constant handful for Sandringham. Bedford showed his trademark dash and agility throughout all four quarters proving to be too slick and slippery to tackle. He showed his physical side with a big bump that sent his opponent over the boundary line in the second quarter and went on to kick two goals in the quarter including a lovely snap goal on the boundary. His third would come with another nice snap in the third term and he did the team things well in the last quarter with a nice kick inside 50 to Bayne in the pocket. Bedford finished the game with 12 disposals, six tackles and three goals. 

#29 Bailey Williams

Williams was the dominant big man on the ground with three goals proving a difficult matchup for the Sandringham talls Corey Watts and Charlie Dean. His first goal came from a mark and then set shot goal in the first quarter and his final two goals came in the last quarter, one coming from a lovely contested mark where he nailed the set shot and the other was much easier with him running straight into an open goal in the goal square. Williams finished the game with 11 disposals, four tackles, 14 hitouts and three goals and three behinds 

#58 Will Hamill

Hamill was very classy with his run off half-back where he showed his clean hands and movement through traffic along with his lovely left foot to hit targets. This game was not as big as last weeks but he still played his role down back rarely getting beaten and looking comfortable with ball in hand coming out of defence. Hamill finished with 13 disposals, three marks and four rebounds. 

 #59 Sam Sturt

Sturt showed why he is a highly sought after talent displaying his great hands on multiple occasions and showing off his dangerous kicking skills on his left foot. Sturt’s best quarter was his second taking some nice marks and laying some good tackles. He showed off his kicking with a nice long pass inside 50 and he showed his creativity with ball in hand with a good handball over his head which lead to a goal. Sturt’s first goal came in the third quarter with nice recovery after a marking contest and then kicking a nice snap goal. He showed his terrific judgment overhead with a nice mark on the wing in the last quarter where he managed to take the mark behind his opponent.  Sturt finished the game with 12 disposals, five marks, six tackles and two goals. 



By: Craig Byrnes

#2 Alastair Richards

Found himself mostly behind the play and while he did not win much of the ball, he had an eye catching moment when running through the middle of the ground with pace which resulted in a goal to Mahony during the first quarter. He was very reliable defensively as well, laying 10 tackles and using his acceleration to hold his opposition up.

#7 Liam Stocker

It was a character propelling performance by the Morrish Medal winner who continued on despite nursing a shoulder complaint for a majority of the match. While he already appeared sore beforehand, a hard hit from Sam Fletcher saw Stocker go off, but he returned to the field to tough it out despite being in obvious discomfort. He fought tooth and nail for his 18 disposals and still managed to lay 10 tackles with that shoulder restriction. He looked rushed on occasions with attention from Campbell Hustwaite and Jake Frawley at the stoppages, but it was a commendable effort to fight on and it was not unnoticed.

#27 Jack Mahony

The 16 year old is a really clever and creative player, especially inside 50 where his goal sense and nous is obvious. He gets in positions where defenders get panicky when the ball hits the ground and is difficult to contain. He kicked two opportunistic goals and had good moments through the midfield as well, collecting 17 disposals. He makes things happen with ball in hand and despite being only 176cm, he has plenty of tricks for clubs to be excited about next year.

#28 James Rendell

The Brisbane father-son prospect is giving the Lions and the other clubs plenty to think about after an outstanding Preliminary Final outing. He competed well in the ruck against the likes of Bowman and Williams, but it was around the ground where he was truly influential. In tricky windy conditions, he read the ball superbly in the air to take multiple contested marks. At ground level he fought to win five clearances and if he did not win the ball, he would throw his body around or tackle. He finished with 18 disposals, seven marks and 23 hitouts to clearly be Sandringham’s best player on the day.

#29 Ben King

The top five prospect had quiet periods after a hot start, where he took four marks leading up the ground in the first quarter. Although Dandenong’s dominance meant he lacked supply and could not be as involved as previous weeks. He still managed to hit the scoreboard and was dangerous when the ball was in his area. He kicked a goal from an easy crumb in the second quarter and earned a free kick after attacking the ball at its highest point late in the game.

#33 Will Kennedy

The 198cm combine invitee did not have a huge impact on the game, starting in the forward arc and relieving Rendell in the ruck. He only won seven disposals, but had a real crack defensively laying eight tackles. He had a moment in the opposition goal square during the third quarter where he cleaned up teammate Corey Watts with a lack of communication between the two, but you could not question his attack at the ball.

#48 Josh Worrell

The bottom-aged prospect has had an impressive finals series and again looked right at home in defence for Sandringham. He is a tidy left footer who at 195cm, is capable of playing tall, sitting in the hole or manning a medium type as he did on Sam Sturt. While he gave his opponent latitude at times, he reads the play well and took a strong contested intercept mark in the final term. One to keep an eye on next year.

#52 Charlie Dean

Another bottom-aged Dragon who impressed behind the play and won plenty of the ball. He looked comfortable defensively and got into smart positions. He is a good size at 194cm and appears to possess flexibility to play different roles in the back half. Dean arguably played his best game to date for Sandringham to finish with 18 disposals and seven marks.

#72 Darcy Chirgwin

Chirgwin will be yet another 2019 draft prospect for Sandringham who proved to possess some quality forward traits on Saturday. He only won nine disposals, but looked likely every time the ball was in his area inside 50. He took a strong contested mark in the second term and kicked truly, following that up shortly with a clever dribble goal. Like Dean and Worrell, we will see Chirgwin in a couple of weeks in the U17 Futures game at the MCG on Grand Final day.

#74 Harry Reynolds

One of the bolters of the draft, Reynolds started at the first centre bounce and won early midfield possessions. He consistently got his hands first on the ball, but the faster paced game and higher quality opposition meant he fumbled on occasions and did not always have the time to release efficiently. In saying that, he is a fascinating prospect at 190cm and possesses enormous scope in his game. He finished with 15 disposals and three clearances, but you suspect he has a whole lot more than those numbers to provide as he develops.


Gippsland Power vs. Oakleigh Chargers


By: Craig Byrnes

#2 Caleb Serong

One of the few Power players who could come away satisfied with their individual performance. He started in the midfield and gathered a couple of early touches, before spending long periods forward for the rest of the game. Obviously lacking opportunities in the front half, Serong was his usual clean and efficient self when in possession of the pill. He finally got Gippsland on the board with a well read dribble goal in the fourth term, before earning a free kick shortly after to double his and the team’s tally. He finished with 14 disposals and two goals which was a respectable effort in a big loss.

#4 Sam Flanders

Despite the dominance of the Oakleigh midfield in the first half, Flanders competed and fought hard when at the stoppages to ensure the opposition didn’t have it all their own way. He laid a physical chase down tackle on Will Kelly in the first term to earn a free kick and won a couple of eye catching clearances against the play. He took a strong body on body grab inside 50 in the third term, but was not seen as frequently as the game went on.

#5 Xavier Duursma

On an extremely tough day for Gippsland, one thing you could not question was the determination of the captain. Duursma did all he possibly could to stem the Charger’s flow of goals both offensively and defensively, but was often found lacking support against the quality opposition. He wasn’t allowed to find his usual space, which often lead to Oakleigh players hanging off him from a contested situation which affected his efficiency. He did manage to break free and hit Austin Hodge lace out inside 50 from a stoppage, but these moments were few and far between. His desperate, diving tackle efforts ensured he lost no admirers and is sure to be in first round contention come November.

#9 Irving Mosquito

It certainly was not Mosquito’s most prolific or influential outing of the year, but the Hawthorn Next Generation Academy prospect still managed to create the occasional eye catching moment. “Mozzie” looked his most dangerous at the stoppages, weaving through traffic, creating space from nothing and turning onto his left as he does best. He only won nine disposals, but clubs really like him which may lead to Hawthorn matching a bid earlier than they would like.

#11 Austin Hodge

The 19 year-old was in and out of the game playing forward and rotating through the midfield. You can never doubt his intent and courage, as proven in the first term when he attacked an aerial ball from an awkward position without question. He no doubt would have liked to get more involved in his final game for the club, but his years of commitment and outstanding character have left a lasting mark.

#12 Brock Smith

In the absence of Kyle Reid, Smith was required to play a taller role behind the ball and had to deal with constant Oakleigh entrances from the outset. He defended as well as he could have considering the quality of the attacks coming in, even taking a strong intercept mark in the first term. While he made an error in the middle of the ground in the second term that resulted in a goal, he attacked the ball at every opportunity and provided a physical presence that his teammates could not replicate.

#18 Matt McGannon

Unfortunately he did not start the game in great fashion, turning the ball over from a kick out that directly resulted in a goal. It was an uncharacteristic error, but he improved as the game went on in difficult circumstances. He has had an outstanding season and has proven to be one of the best users of the ball in the competition, on either side of his body. McGannon has his second consecutive Draft Combine coming up and will embrace to opportunity to impress the clubs again.

#23 Noah Gown

Gown was deprived of the aerial opportunities of recent weeks, but still looked ominous when the ball went in his direction. He won an excellent one on one against Kelly early, keeping his feet after competing for the mark and gathering eventually in space. He also took an extremely strong mark on the lead in the second term under extreme pressure. It was the thirteenth time in 14 matches since moving forward that he has been named in Power’s best. He has arguably been the biggest improver this year and has ended the season having given himself every chance in the November drafts.



By: Ed Pascoe 

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

Collier-Dawkins backed up his impressive game last week with an even better performance this week proving too be too quick and too strong through the midfield. Collier-Dawkins’ hands at stoppages were clean and he often got his arms free to release to running teammates. His speed around the ground was telling where he often would take the ball either with a mark or in general play and always look to play on and get the play moving. Once the rain started, Collier-Dawkins showed his best bit of play to date where he kicked a classy checkside goal on the run in the third quarter and although missing the set shot his speed to take a nice contested mark in the last quarter was impressive. Collier-Dawkins finished with 26 disposals, six inside 50s and one goal. 

#4 Will Kelly

Will Kelly had a quiet game down back, the ball did not spend much time down there but he did the defensive things well and looked composed with ball in hand. Kelly finished with eight disposals, three marks and our rebounds.

 #9 James Rowbottom

Rowbottom has been one of Oakleigh’s most consistent midfielders this year and that was also the case against Gippsland with another tough performance. Rowbottom again did his best work at the clearances using his burst of speed and clean hands to win clearances around the ground. He has struggled to hit the scoreboard this year but he had a few chances in the third quarter where he snapped a behind at a stoppage before finally kicking a goal with a nice opposite foot snap. Rowbottom finished the game with 24 disposals and one goal. 

 #12 Noah Answerth

Answerth was one of many dominant midfielders for Oakleigh with his clearance work and tough attitude on display at stoppages. Answerth was terrific by hand often showing good vision and ran with the ball on a few occasions to give himself time to pick the right options. A few kicks he had where slammed on the boot at stoppages which would effect his efficiency but they were often the right option. He only had the four kicks for the game often using his best feature which was his handballing. He kicked a nice long goal in the first quarter coming from a set shot from 50 meters. Answerth was a solid contributor over the four quarters and he finished the game with 23 disposals, five tackles and one goal. 

 #23 Isaac Quaynor

Quaynor did not get to show a huge amount of his talent playing in defence, but he was still able to show why he is a possible top 20 pick. Quaynor was cool and clam with ball in hand and was not afraid to take the game on. He had plenty of clearing kicks from defence and he made good decisions throughout the game. Quanyor had a solid finish to game pushing up the ground and he looks set for a big game next week finishing with 14 disposals and four rebound 50s 

 #31 Will Golds

Golds was a ball magnet on the wing for Oakleigh and he was huge in the opening quarter with his run and carry and ability to find the ball. Golds had a good mix of linking play with handballs while also getting them back and pumping the ball inside 50. As much as he is an outside player he still managed to take a nice contested mark in the second quarter. Golds’ ball use was mostly very effective especially by hand and he had a great kick inside 50 to Day in the third quarter. Golds finished the game with 26 disposals and five inside 50s. 

Dandenong books Grand Final spot with strong win over Sandringham

DANDENONG Stingrays have booked their place in the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final after enjoying a solid 42-point win over Sandringham Dragons at Ikon Park today in swirling conditions. The Stingrays did not have it all their own way throughout the contest, but won every quarter with a five goals to one third term giving them a buffer at the final break and run away with the contest in the final term.

Both teams started by feeling each other out, with the ball predominantly in the Stingrays half, but it was Jack Mahony, getting on the end of an Alastair Richards kick inside 50. The ball bounced up perfectly for Mahony who kicked it from the goal square for the games’ first. A long range shot from Jamie Plumridge resulted in one behind for the Stingrays as the rain poured down. Then a quick snap from Ned Cahill in the goal square put Dandenong in front. Cahill then set up teammate, Bailey Williams with a chip over the top and the big forward made no mistake from the set shot.

Sam Fletcher had started strongly for the Stingrays, racking up 10 touches in the opening 15 minutes as he worked tirelessly on the inside. Meanwhile it was James Rendell who lined up for a set shot, with the wind pulling it to the side and it was punched across for a behind. The Dragons trailed by a goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in the quarter. Louis Butler almost had the goal of the day with a terrific snap, just hitting the goal post.

With the remainder of the term being an arm-wrestle, Fletcher finished the quarter with 10 disposals, three more than any other player, leading Plumridge (seven) and Jai Taylor (six). For the Dragons, Charlie Dean had seven disposals, while Rendell was their best with six touches and four marks, while Ben King lead out to take four marks.

It took 30 seconds for Sandringham to almost conquer something out of nothing with the Dragons two stars combining. A beautiful pick-up off the deck from King and quick hands to Morrish Medallist, Liam Stocker saw the latter have a flying shot on the goal but just missed. Riley Bowman had an equally great pick-up, but just missed the outside snap. Then the Stingrays got on the board with Zac Foot winning a couple of touches working hard with Toby Bedford to get on the end of it to kick a goal. Less than a minute later Sandringham responded through Mahony with his second of the game.

King played the role of rover in he goal square, pouncing on a loose ball after getting free at the back and dribbling a goal home to put the Dragons in front. Moments later Darcey Chirgwin extended the lead to seven points with a big mark and set shot goal. Cahill then laid a strong tackle and earned a free kick for his troubles, kicking the goal, his second of the match and being Dandenong’s most dominant forward.

A couple of pieces of Sam Sturt magic saw him set up Bedford with a pin-point perfect pass, then a quick handball over the top. While Bedford missed the set shot, the next running shot on goal the small forward made no mistake, putting the Stingrays back in front. Bedford’s impact on the game was profound as he snapped an unbelievable goal, making it two in a few minutes. Chirgwin answered Bedford’s double with his second on the term with a dribble goal in the square. At half-time, Fletcher and Callum Jones lead all-comers with 13 touches.

The first meaningful shot on goal was a quick snap off the deck from Williams who just missed. The wind was playing havoc on the game with a swirly breeze blowing to one side and forcing a number of balls out on the full or towards the boundary line. Williams had his second behind of the term with another quick snap that got caught in the breeze, but all the attack was in Dandenong’s front half. With everyone fumbling and missing stock-standard passes, it was Bedford who stood tall among all others and just summed up the situation with a handball receive from Williams, put it on the boot and bent it around the body for his third of the game.

Dandenong was doing all the attacking and Finlay Bayne was the beneficiary with a perfectly timed run and goal to put Dandenong out to their largest lead of the game, at 20 points. Just as it looked like the Stingrays were running away with the contest, 23rd player, George Grey bobbed up at the right time and snapped on the run to cut the deficit and give the Dragons some hope. That hope was soon erased when an attempted rebound was smothered by Matthew Cottrell and the ball bounced around and landed in the hands of Taylor who run into goal and punished Sandringham’s error.

A second error, this time a miscommunication by two Dragons defenders when they were three-on-one against Williams saw Will Kennedy and Corey Watts crash into each other, Williams scoop it up, handball to the running Taylor who got boot to ball with centimetres remaining and put through another. Williams took a good mark against a smaller opponent but could not quite convert, but seconds later he heard the voice of Sturt, left it for the exciting medium-tall who pounced and made no mistake to put the Dragons 34 points up at the final break.

The important first goal of the final term when to Finn Maginness who earned a 50m penalty and made no mistake from the goal square. But with all the hope that brought, it took just two minutes for the Stingrays to answer through Williams who took a great one-on-one mark and kicked the goal from 25m out. Sandringham had not given up, pushing hard with a few good inside 50s but Dandenong’s defence was holding up superbly kicking long down the wing and making sure there were repeat stoppages, or space for their smalls to run. If there was any doubt about the winner, then in the tenth minute, Williams swooped on a loose ball and went bang inside the square and the margin was 40 points and the Stingrays were heading to the TAC Cup Grand Final.

To put some great icing on a terrific cake, Sturt judged the ball in flight well and judged the ball drop to mark amongst a crowd of players and nailed the set shot to celebration. He almost had his third a few minutes later, but it swung right to left and missed. Up the other end, King answered with a good mark and set shot goal, his second of the match to hand the Dragons a consolation goal in what was ultimately a disappointing day.

Bedford was best on ground with 12 touches, six tackles and three goals in an impactful performance, while Sturt was equally busy up forward with two goals from 12 disposals, five marks and six tackles, and skipper Campbell Hustwaite stood strong throughout the four quarters with a game-high 27 disposals, nine clearances, five inside 50s and four tackles. For the Dragons, Rendell was the best with 17 disposals – all kicks – and 23 hitouts, and laid five tackles as well. Clearly hampered by his shoulder, Stocker was huge to play out the game and amass 17 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds.

DANDENONG 2.1 | 6.3 | 11.7 | 14.11 (95)
SANDRINGHAM 1.2 | 5.3 | 6.3 | 8.5 (53)


Dandenong: Bailey Williams 3, Toby Bedford 3, Ned Cahill 2, Jai Taylor 2, Sam Sturt 2, Zac Foot, Finlay Bayne.
Sandringham: Jack Mahony 2, Darcey Chirgwin 2, Ben King 2, George Grey, Finn Maginness.


Dandenong: Toby Bedford, Ned Cahill, Sam Sturt, Bailey Williams, Campbell Hustwaite.
Sandringham: James Rendell, Liam Stocker, Jack Mahony, Harry Reynolds.

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Round 15

TAC Cup football is back and with two rounds left, the end of the season is near. For the penultimate round of action there are some big guns back, while others head out to play the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final on the MCG tomorrow.



Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 10am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the opening game of the round, two top four sides go head-to-head in a season-defining clash for both teams. Gippsland will lock away second spot with a victory, while Murray will need to win to put itself in the best position for a top four position as Oakleigh Chargers sit just two points adrift of the Bushrangers. The Power has only had the two losses this season, with two draws in season 2018 – against Calder Cannons and Northern Knights. It will be a good opportunity for the Power to grab the four points as the Bushrangers have a number of key outs. The side has lost Kyle Clarke and Jacob Koschitzke to injury, as well as Ely Smith to the VFL. The previous two head-to-head clashes between the teams have also gone the way of the Power, winning both by more than seven goals. Gippsland come into the game in good form coming off a victory against the Chargers. With Noah Gown and Fraser Phillips causing headaches up forward, Xavier Duursma in midfield and Kyle Reid in defence, they will be tough to beat. Their bottom-age brigade of Riley Baldi, Josh Smith and Brock Smith among others form a strong group, but Murray is a side that can topple anyone on its day. Hudson Garoni and Jye Chalcraft are always capable to creating scoring opportunities, while Jordon Butts is a very handy inclusion, patrolling the airways and finding plenty of the football. Jimmy Boyer, Willson Mack and Will Chandler are just a handful of talented bottom-agers for the Bushrangers who could have an impact against the Power. Gippsland head into the game as deserving favourites, but you can never write-off the Bushrangers.



Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 12.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The midfield battle between Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays is poised to be a battle within a battle. Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless will go head-to-head against the likes of Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Finlay Bayne, while Baxter Mensch and Cooper Stephens rotate through there, as will the likes of Zac Foot and Jamie Plumridge. Dandenong’s advantage has always been in the ruck, with Bailey Schmidt joining Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams between there and the key forward posts. The Falcons are in great form after a big win last round and will love the challenge of testing themselves against the benchmark in this game. For the Stingrays, they’re not in so much good form as they have never been in anything other than good form this season, dropping just the one game – by a kick no less. Now they travel up to MARS Stadium with top spot locked up, and will look to have a good win against the side that knocked the Stingrays out of the finals series last year. Expect this game to be a cracker and the likes of Dane Hollenkamp, Connor Idun and Blake Schlensog to have their work cut out against quality talls, while Brayden Ham continues to impress by hitting the scoreboard on a regular basis. Up the other end, Toby Bedford is sure to cause a few headaches with his tackling pressure and goal nous.



Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 3pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game up in Ballarat is a battle between the country rivals in Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers. The teams have played twice, with the head-to-head split one each. The Pioneers won the round one game by a point coming home strongly in the final term, before the Rebels accounted for them in the next clash. With the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final on at the MCG, the GWV Rebels’ depth will be tested, making at least 10 changes to their line-up, losing the likes of Scott Carlin, Matty Lloyd, Lochie Dawson, Josh Chatfield and Izaac Grant among others, while Tom Berry is of course out for the season through injury. For the Pioneers, they have strengthened their line-up massively with the inclusions of bottom-age tall Brodie Kemp, brothers Flynn and Oscar Perez, and the ever-consistent Bailey Henderson. If there was a game the Pioneers would go in as favourites despite being bottom of the ladder, it would be this one. Spectators will get a great indication of the strength of the Rebels’ depth, while also seeing if the Pioneers can utilise their speed and bottom-age talent to get the job done. While Jye Caldwell is still not out on the park, the Pioneers go in with one of their strongest line-ups this season and will back their chances here. GWV Rebels’ forward Charlie Wilson has been named in the middle, with he and Jed Hill the keys to putting scores on the board with so many outs in the team. Mitch Martin showed some great signs in the Under 17 Futures game and has a big opportunity in the midfield here, while Harris Jennings and Ben Annett are others who have shown signs throughout the season this year.



Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 10am
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

Moving to the Sunday games, two sides in the bottom half of the eight do battle with Western Jets hosting Northern Knights. Captain Xavier O’Halloran will swap Avalon Airport Oval for the MCG when he runs out for St Bernards in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final. His leadership is a big loss on-field and with Zak Butters out for the year, the Jets will look to their strong inside midfield of Connor Thar, Jack Watkins and Jaden Rice to win the footy at the coal face and distribute to their runners on the outside in Stefan Radovanovic and Daly Andrews. Northern welcomes back its captain Braedyn Gillard after a long-term lay-off due to injury. He is one of a number of crucial inclusions along with Oscar White and Lachlan Potter in defence, and Josh D’Intinosante up forward. Tom Hallebone will be a loss in the ruck, especially against Darren Walters, but the Knights will back themselves in against the Jets’ midfielders with Adam Carafa in good form, and Justin McInerney and Ryan Gardner providing good run on the outside. This is expected to be a great contest and important in the scheme of finals. While the Knights cannot make top four and the Jets need all the luck in the world, positioning in the bottom half of the eight is still important because it determines their opponents in the Wildcard Round. Both sides are well coached, well drilled line-ups so expect a hard fought battle and no-one giving an inch across the four quarters.



Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 12.30pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

In the middle game, Eastern Ranges will be hoping to bring its A-game against a Calder Cannons team that keeps getting the job done each week. The Cannons lose a number of players to the St Bernards team in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final, but welcome back top 30 draft prospect Rhylee West, forward Josh Kemp and Vic Metro representative Jack Evans among others. Eastern also has a number of inclusions, as Lachlan Stapleton and Caleb Quirk strengthen the side in their bid to upset the Cannons in this clash. Calder’s choice of overagers this year has been very clever with Mitch Podhajski patrolling the midfield, Daniel Hanna strengthening the defence and Jake Riccardi providing a reliable target up forward. Curtis Taylor provides the X-factor up forward and Lucas Cavallaro continues to rebound the ball at will, and are two players Eastern has to keep under wraps. For the Ranges, the midfield of Kye Quirk, Mitch Mellis, Adrian Kalcovski and Stapleton is a consistent core, they just need more out of the next tier. Key defender, James Blanck will have an important role in defence for the Ranges, while Billy McCormack will keep a Cannons defender accountable up the other end. In the earlier match between these two teams, Calder got the job done under lights at RAMS Arena in chilly conditions. With the weather hit and miss this weekend, the Cannons will be hoping for a similar result.



Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 3pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

The last game of the round is arguably the best, with everyone looking forward to practically full-strength Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons outfits going head-to-head in a battle between two genuine premiership contenders. Earlier in the year prior to his knee injury, Max King had a day out with eight majors against the Chargers at RAMS Arena in the Dragons’ come-from-behind win. This time around, it could be twin brother Ben who will hope to repeat the feat, with Will Kelly playing in defence this time around and a likely opponent for King. The Dragons are still missing captain Bailey Smith to injury, but Liam Stocker, Ryan Byrnes and Darcey Chirgwin is a strong core on the inside, while Alastair Richards and Angus Hanrahan provide good run and skill up either end. Draft watchers will get a first look at Harry Reynolds who makes his debut in Dragons colours, similar to Nathan Murphy last season – rewarded for school football form with a TAC Cup debut. Will Kennedy has been named forward with James Rendell in the ruck which should keep the Chargers’ talls busy. Oakleigh has its own top-end talent and depth which will test the Dragons outfit. Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco is a ridiculously good small defensive trio, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, James Rowbottom, Jack Ross, Will Golds and Matt Rowell in the middle is as strong as it has been all season. They do not have the key position forwards Sandringham do at the top-end, but with Will James coming in from APS football and Dylan Williams and Noah Anderson capable of kicking multiple goals, it is likely to result in an absolute classic.

The run home: Sandringham Dragons

ANYTHING to do with statistical analysis on the Sandringham Dragons this season – or most seasons to this point of the year – is largely irrelevant. The majority of the Dragons list plays school football, making at times as many as 17 changes when it starts or stops, and up to nine or 10 changes each week depending on which school has the bye, and other injuries or omissions. To sit third after 14 rounds ahead of getting their top-end talent back is remarkable. After storming to three wins with a full-strength side, the Dragons dropped the next few games as they tinkered with their line-up. But since then, their form has been as good as any side in the competition, and now they face two genuine premiership contenders in the final two rounds. The Round 16 showdown between the Dragons and Dandenong Stingrays could well be a Grand Final preview, in what will be a fantastic spectacle to watch.

Wins: 10
Losses: 4
Draws: 0
Position: 3rd
Points For: 874 (8th)
Points Against: 976 (8th)
Percentage: 90
Points: 40


R15: vs. Oakleigh Chargers – Avalon Airport Oval
R16: vs. Dandenong Stingrays – Trevor Barker Beach Oval

National Combine Invitations: [7] Joel Crocker, Angus Hanrahan, Will Kennedy, Ben King, Max King, Bailey Smith, Liam Stocker

State Combine Invitations: [4] Harry Houlahan, James Rendell, Harry Reynolds, Alastair Richards

Sandringham had the second most invitees of any side to the National Combine, receiving an impressive seven invitations. Given two of them have been injured practically the entire year – Joel Crocker (since last year’s finals) and Max King (first round of school football) – it shows the quality that could have been in this finals series coming up. With Ben King and Bailey Smith linking up, and the likes of Liam Stocker on the inside and Angus Hanrahan on the outside, the Dragons pose a huge threat to any side hoping to claim the flag this year. Will Kennedy and James Rendell are strong bookends, while Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards have proven to be handy this season. We will get a much better idea of where the Dragons sit in the next two weeks with wholesale changes returning to the line-up for Sunday’s game.

Top Fives:


1 – Liam Stocker – 216 (43rd overall)
2 – Nicholas Stamatis – 189
3 – Ryan Byrnes – 176
4 – Corey Watts – 168
5 – Kai Owens – 162


1 – Corey Watts – 55 (21st overall)
2 – Nicholas Stamatis – 35
2 – James Rendell – 35
4 – Kai Owens – 33
5 – Liam Stocker – 32
5 – Will Kennedy – 32

Contested Possessions:

1 – Liam Stocker – 115 (18th overall)
2 – Ryan Byrnes – 95
3 – Kai Owens – 68
4 – James Rendell – 67
5 – Nicholas Stamatis – 58


1 – Kai Owens – 51 (eq. 31st overall)
2 – Dawit McNeish – 50
3 – Liam Stocker – 49
4 – Ryan Byrnes – 44
5 – James Rendell – 41


1 – Andrew Courtney – 183 (6th overall)
2 – James Rendell – 104
3 – Joe Griffiths – 99
4 – Ethan Casey – 69
5 – Fischer McAsey – 28


1 – Liam Stocker – 52 (eq. 12th overall)
2 – Ryan Byrnes – 33
3 – Kai Owens – 30
4 – Bailey Smith – 23
5 – Dawit McNeish – 22

Inside 50s:

1 – Liam Stocker – 53 (7th overall)
2 – Alastair Richards – 38
3 – James Rendell – 30
3 – Nicholas Stamatis – 30
5 – Ryan Byrnes – 27


1 – Corey Watts – 36 (eq. 15th overall)
2 – Liam Stocker – 21
2 – Jackson Voss – 21
4 – Nicholas Stamatis – 19
4 – Miles Bergman – 19


1 – James Rendell – 12 (eq. 25th overall)
2 – Nicholas Stamatis – 8
2 – Harry Bede – 8
2 – Max King – 8
5 – Jack Denborough – 7

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 13

ALL twelve teams return to TAC Cup action this round after a split round 12 saw teams divided up over two weekends.


Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 12pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

In the first game of the round, the Eastern Ranges host Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels with both sides having named extended benches. Mihaele Zalac, Thomas Lockman, Xavier Fry and Harvey Chinn are among eight inclusions, while ruck Steven Kapahnke, Chayce Black and Lachlan Kruger are named among the five omissions. GWV have made just two confirmed changes with Connor Giddings and Ben Dodd out, while five players have come in, including forwards Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield to provide height up front.

Eastern Ranges

B: 38. M. Briggs, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i, 20. B. Cardamone
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 57. C. Leon
C: 8. J.  Burleigh, 7. L.  Stapleton, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 25. L. Vassis, 45. M. Zalac, 46. B. White
F: 59. J. Nathan, 18. B. McCormack, 32. F. Smith
R: 58. R. Smith, 24. K. Quirk, 26. C. Norris
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 30. T. Edwards, 5. R. Einsporn, 12. J. Gilbee, 2. A. Kalcovski, 42. T. Lockman, 22. C. Quirk
23P: 64. Z. Pretty

In: M. Zalac, J. Nathan, H. Chinn, F. Smith, C. Leon, T. Lockman, X. Fry, Z. Pretty
Out: C. Tilyard,  L. Munro,  S. Kapahnke,  L. Kruger,  C. Black

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 48. J. Cleaver, 44. R. Polkinghorne
HB: 3. S. Carlin, 18. B. Helyar, 24. M. Lloyd
C: 5. H.  Jennings, 27. E.  Lamb, 30. I.  Wareham
HF: 21. I. Grant, 11. J. Chatfield, 6. C. Wilson
F: 14. J. Hill, 20. T. Watts, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 29. P. Glanford, 9. L. Dawson, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 4. B. Annett, 12. A. Gove, 16. E. Harvey, 47. T. Mahony, 7. M. Martin, 26. R. Ranieri, 40. I. Thomas
23P: 42. E. Ajang

In: T. Watts, J. Chatfield, R. Ranieri, A. Gove, B. Annett
Out: C. Giddings, B. Dodd



Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 1pm
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Up the highway, Murray Bushrangers take on Western Jets in the match of the day. The Bushrangers have brought in creative forward, Mathew Walker, as well as midfielder, Dylan Clarke, but Jake Bradshaw and James Butts are among four outs in the team. For the Jets, Jaden Rice and Malwal Maguang are the only two confirmed outs, while David Pantalleresco and Tristan Rudic are two of five ins to an extended bench.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 59. L. Fiore, 19. J. Boyer
HB: 12. L. Ash, 8. J. Koschitzke, 16. N. Murray
C: 26. R.  Bice, 5. E.  Smith, 13. B.  Frauenfelder
HF: 2. J. Butts, 18. H. Garoni, 10. P. Warner
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 7. Z. Barzen, 9. M. Walker
R: 35. F. Bollinghaus, 28. K. Clarke, 38. D. Clarke
Int: 6. W. Chandler, 23. M. Marriott, 55. R. Paradzayi, 53. C. Wilson
23P: 51. T. Matthes

In: R. Paradzayi, T. Matthes, M. Walker, D. Clarke
Out: J. Butts,  J. Bradshaw,  L. Whyte,  J. Sanford

Western Jets

B: 48. A. Britten, 37. H. Murphy, 15. M. Hearne
HB: 25. S. Johnson, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 7. J.  Watkins, 24. J.  Honey
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 31. E. Jeka, 2. T. Rudic
F: 1. J. Hazik, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 33. X. O’Halloran
Int: 18. B. Colley, 8. J. Kellett, 10. S. Kyriazis, 22. O. Manton, 6. L. Rocci, 41. L. Rzanovski, 26. W. Smyth
23P: 44. N. Shaw

In: B. Colley, N. Shaw, D. Pantalleresco, T. Rudic, W. Smyth
Out: M. Maguang, J. Rice



Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Both Northern Knights and Gippsland Power have welcomed back some important players for their clash at Preston City Oval. The Knights have lost a number of players to school football, with the outs made up of Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone, as well as Justin McInerney, Patrik Della Rocca, Adam Carafa and Kye Yodgee. Ryan Sturgess, Harrison Grace, Ryan Gardner and Joel Naylor are among eight inclusions on an extended bench. For the Power, ruck Ryan Henkel comes into the team, as does Tyrone Hayes, while Marcus Toussaint is the only confirmed out at this stage.

Northern Knights

B: 11. R. Sturgess, 33. J. Randall, 22. M. Wild
HB: 4. T. McKenzie, 28. S. Uzelac, 5. L. Potter
C: 25. J.  Davies, 10. B.  Bell, 1. R.  Gardner
HF: 7. H. Grace, 18. S. Brazier, 40. N. Mayne
F: 24. R. Bowkett, 9. C. Simonsen, 27. J. Lucente
R: 19. N. Howard, 13. S. Philp, 17. J. D’Intinosante
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 37. K. Brandt, 51. J. Collins, 12. J. Naylor, 32. I. Rossi, 15. O. White, 44. C. Wild
23P: 52. J. Trudgeon

In: R. Sturgess, H. Grace, R. Gardner, N. Mayne, K. Agosta, J. Collins, J. Naylor, K. Brandt
Out: K. Yodgee,  T. Hallebone,  P. Della Rocca,  J. McInerney,  A. Carafa

Gippsland Power

B: 7. B. Patterson, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 1. T. Hayes, 14. T. Hourigan, 12. B. Smith
C: 18. M.  McGannon, 28. H.  Hood, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 33. B. Thorson, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 8. B. Beck, 23. N. Gown, 9. I. Mosquito
R: 16. J. Smith, 11. A. Hodge, 5. X. Duursma
Int: 4. S. Flanders, 22. R. Henkel, 40. Z. Hurley, 19. F. Phillips, 35. J. van der Pligt, 32. L. Williams, 45. A. Young
23P: 34. J. Hume

In: R. Henkel, T. Hayes, F. Phillips, J. Hume
Out: M. Toussaint



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 11.30am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Moving onto the Sunday games, both Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays have named extended benches for their clash. Calder has brought in AFL Academy member, Curtis Taylor and the likes of Ben Rigoni, Anthony Righele and Mohammed Abou-Eid among 12 inclusions. Fellow AFL Academy member Jack Bytel is out with injury, with forward Josh Kemp, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell among nine outs. For the ladder-leading Stingrays, Bailey Schmidt and Daniel Frampton replace Matthew Cumming and Corey Ellison up either end in the side, while Finlay Bayne and Hayden Young are big inclusions for the visitors.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 30. M.  Podhajski, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 44. N. Gentile, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 19. B. Rigoni
F: 42. N. Croft, 5. C. Taylor, 32. M. Simpson
R: 59. J. Middleton, 1. D. Mott, 53. M. Abou-Eid
Int: 51. W. Jury, 52. B. Reddick, 29. J. Riccardi, 55. A. Righele, 39. L. Sultana, 37. D. Torcia, 13. N. Walsh
23P: 18. S. Shorten

In: M. Simpson, D. Torcia, J. Middleton, B. Reddick, S. Shorten, M. Abou-Eid, N. Walsh, N. Gentile, L. Sultana, C. Taylor, B. Rigoni, A. Righele
Out: P. Mahoney,  J. Taylor,  H. Jones,  H. Minton-Connell,  L. Johnson,  J. Bytel,  J. Martin,  J. Kemp,  S. Graham

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 32. D. Frampton, 41. L. Stenning
HB: 2. H. Young, 5. A. Paterson, 10. L. Young
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 7. J.  Taylor
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 29. B. Williams, 3. J. Plumridge
F: 17. F. Bayne, 28. B. Schmidt, 16. J. Frawley
R: 13. R. Bowman, 1. S. Fletcher, 58. W. Hamill
Int: 6. J. Barker, 36. S. Cumming, 45. L. Goonan, 27. L. McDonnell, 57. R. Nanscawen, 25. J. Triep
23P: 48. J. Stuart

In: L. Goonan, B. Schmidt, H. Young, D. Frampton, L. Young, J. Stuart, F. Bayne
Out: E. Cahill, B. Angwin, M. Cumming, L. Williams, C. Ellison



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 1pm
Central Reserve, Colac

Geelong Falcons return to Colac this weekend and are hosting Oakleigh Chargers, with both sides taking a very different approach to team selection. AFL Academy member, Ed McHenry is the only out for the Falcons, while Jack Grigsby and Keidan Rayner are the two confirmed ins. Oakleigh have unsurprisingly been hit hard by the return of school football with Vic Metro players James Rowbottom, Will Kelly and Joe Ayton-Delaney among a whopping 11 confirmed outs. There is some good news for the Chargers, with AFL Academy defender, Isaac Quaynor returning to the team and has been named on a wing. The likes of Bailey Wraith and Daniel Scala are also among the 14 inclusions.

Geelong Falcons

B: 31. C. Cartledge, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 21. L. Smith
HB: 40. J. Clark, 39. C. Idun, 20. B. Ham
C: 7. C.  Harris, 6. D.  Madigan, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 10. B. Mensch, 42. H. Spiller, 22. S. Walsh
F: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 48. B. Schlensog, 13. H. Whyte
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 9. B. Morton, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 25. L. Taylor
23P: 29. B. Miller

In: J. Grigsby, K. Rayner
Out: E. McHenry

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 56. M. Fewings, 30. B. Wraith, 76. H. Leonard
HB: 35. X. Fry, 80. T. Graham, 27. J. May
C: 23. I.  Quaynor, 1. R.  Collier-Dawkins, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 7. J. Robertson, 26. J. Gasper
F: 8. N. Anderson, 22. D. Williams, 6 . M. Day
R: 65. L. Harry, 5. X. O’Neill, 12. N. Answerth
Int: 43. P. Bohan, 2. L. Bugeja, 66. N. Dempsey, 20. F. Elliot, 25. D. Scala, 28. O. Simpson, 42. K. Viccars
23P: 40. B. Jepson

In: T. Graham, N. Dempsey, L. Harry, I. Quaynor, P. Bohan, B. Wraith, M. Day, M. Fewings, D. Scala, B. Jepson, H. Leonard, J. May, K. Viccars, F. Elliot
Out: J. Rowbottom, N. Bryan, K. Dunkley, W. Golds, T. Bianco, W. Kelly, C. Whitehead, J. Ross, H. Mastras, C. Beasley, J. Ayton-Delaney



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 2.30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons have just made the casual 17 changes for the Dragons’ clash with Bendigo Pioneers. A massive 20 players have been included in a side which is almost a completely different side to the one that fronted up against Geelong Falcons in Round 12. With school football returning, the likes of Alastair Richards, Angus Hanrahan, Will Kennedy, Joe Griffiths, Harry Houlahan and Anthony Seaton will be missing from the side. In their place, George Grey, Ryan O’Meara, Andrew Courtney, Jai Florent, Tyson Milne and Corey Watts are among the long list of inclusions. For the Pioneers, James Schischka headlines five inclusions, while Braydon Vaz and Jeremy Rodi are among four confirmed outs for the Pioneers.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 14. R. O’Meara, 56. J. Hannah, 16. J. Paul
HB: 55. J. Cowden, 22. C. Millar, 69. C. Watts
C: 50. T.  Deane-Johns, 10. S. Sofronidis, 25. O. McMaster
HF: 3. T. Fogarty, 58. K. Yorke, 11. N. Stamatis
F: 39. J. Florent, 28. J. Rendell, 1. T. Long
R: 59. A. Courtney, 7. L. Stocker, 13. T. Brimble
Int: 36. M. Bergman, 67. J. Brazionis, 66. R. Byrnes, 24. H. Ferdinand, 47. T. Milne, 42. T. Murray, 40. M. Scott
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: M. Scott, T. Long, J. Cowden, H. Ferdinand, G. Grey, J. Paul, R. O’Meara, C. Millar, J. Hannah, A. Courtney, J. Florent, T. Milne, T. Deane-Johns, O. McMaster, M. Bergman, T. Murray, J. Brazionis, K. Yorke, C. Watts, T. Fogarty
Out: H. Ralphsmith,  F. McAsey,  J. Griffiths,  J. Mahony,  W. Kennedy,  L. Witts,  J. Bell,  A. Seaton,  A. Richards,  J. Denborough,  S. Forbes,  N. Burke,  J. Worrell,  C. Dean,  H. Houlahan,  A. Hanrahan,  J. Le Grice 

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 26. C. O’Shea, 24. N. McHugh, 2. J. Williams
HB: 16. J. Atley, 32. W. Wallace, 20. J. Schischka
C: 3. L.  Marciano, 43. H.  Lawrence, 51. B.  Waasdorp
HF: 17. R. Ironside, 46. L. Tenace, 49. O. Perez
F: 15. L. Caccaviello, 34. R. Clarke, 27. M. Lias
R: 54. M. Christensen, 5. N. Wheeler, 25. F. Perez
Int: 53. W. Allen, 39. D. Clohesy, 37. C. McCarty, 33. J. McHale, 28. C. Vick
23P: 50. N. Kay

In: D. Clohesy, C. McCarty, N. Kay, W. Wallace, J. Schischka
Out: E. Roberts, K. Brown, J. Rodi, B. Vaz

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THREE games, three action packed matches of TAC Cup to watch this weekend. With one game at Warrawee Park tomorrow and a double-header at Mars Stadium, there are two venues to pick from as Round 12 gets underway.


Round 12 – Saturday, July 14, 11am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the opening game of the split round, Oakleigh Chargers welcome back a ridiculous amount of talent into the line-up. Joe Ayton-Delaney, Will Kelly and Noah Answerth will strengthen the defence, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, Matt Rowell and James Rowbottom do the same in midfield, and Noah Anderson and Atu Bosenavulagi in attack. The quality across the board is really strong and if they will be a tough side to beat in this clash. However, Calder have some serious talent returning too, with potential top 30 duo Rhylee West and Jack Bytel to really strengthen the midfield and the battle between the Cannons pair, and Collier-Dawkins and Rowbottom on-ball will be one to watch. The in-form Daniel Mott and the ever-consistent Mitch Podhajski means the midfield is an area where Calder will hold its own against Oakleigh and create some genuine interest in seeing which team can win the contested ball and clearances. Daniel Hanna and Jake Riccardi are bookends that have also been in form for the Cannons, while Jack Ross and Trent Bianco are in strong form for the Chargers. Oakleigh will naturally head into this game as strong favourites given the ins, but Calder would back themselves in if they can nullify the midfield and get first opportunity to their forwards.



Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the early game on Sunday, the GWV Rebels host the Northern Knights at Mars Stadium. The Rebels have lost Tom Berry who will be missed through the midfield, while Tylar Watts will miss his first game of the year. It means Patrick Glanford will do the rucking against Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone – who returns to the side – and bottom-age talent Nathan Howard. The Knights have also welcomed back clearance gun Tom McKenzie who is a much-needed inclusion to the side, named at half-back where he has been playing for Metro. In the middle, Josh D’Intinosante, Brody Bell and Kye Yodgee have the on-ball spots, while Justin McInerney and Oscar White are those named on the wings. McKenzie, Stefan Uzelac and bottom-ager Lachlan Potter form an imposing half-back line, while James Lucente and Sunny Brazier add different elements to the forward line. For the Rebels, Charlie Wilson, Elliott Lamb and Scott Carlin form a strong midfield that will match it with Northern’s on-ball brigade, while Jed Hill and Izaac Grant know how to find the goals. Ben Dodd has been impressive since coming into the side, and he and Harris Jennings add good depth to the Rebels’ midfield. Northern head in as favourites for this clash, but being at home in freezing Ballarat, expect the Rebels to be in with a real shot, especially after last time where they looked to have the game won, but faded away late.



Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 2pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the third and final game of the round, Geelong Falcons host Sandringham Dragons in what should be a fantastic match to watch. Geelong’s triple threat midfield of Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless return to the fold, against a midfield of Liam Stocker, Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards. The Falcons will also welcome Brayden Ham back to his new-found role at half-back, joining Connor Idun, Dane Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge as rocks in the back half. They will compete against the likes of James Rendell, Jack Denborough, Jack Mahony and Angus Hanrahan who provide many elements to the forward 50 for the Dragons. Kai Owens has been named at centre half-back replacing Corey Watts there, and will team up with the in-form Will Kennedy. Anthony Seaton and Nicholas Stamatis are also in defence, and will match up against the likes of McHenry, Jay Dahlhaus and Blake Schlensog, while Cooper Stephens and Baxter Mensch hold up the midfield with Walsh rotating forward. The match is a really hard one to pick, with both teams strengthened by the inclusions. Sandringham have shown this season they have more depth than Geelong, but the top-end talent for the Falcons returning is very impressive. A real 50/50 game here.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 12

THERE were some low-scoring contests in Round 12, as well as some big final scores for some teams in a weekend littered with heavy rain, and we took down notes at the four Saturday games. The Gippsland Power/Murray Bushrangers notes will come tomorrow.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights

By Owen Leonard and Scott Dougan

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Alastair Richards 

In cold, windy conditions at the Trevor Barker Oval by Port Phillip Bay, Richards’ skills stood out early. The outside midfielder was always looking to take the game on and has serious speed. Used his pace to link up on numerous occasions, dishing off and receiving handballs. Richards did not stop running all day and applied strong pressure when the opposition were in possession. The type of player whose presence makes the opposition nervous.

#6 Harry Houlahan

With the Dragons’ Vic Metro representatives out of the side, Houlahan was able to play as a pure midfielder, a promotion from his usual defensive role – and he relished the opportunity. The Mentone Grammar school football captain had no issues finding the leather, while his gut-running was on display, gaining possession all over the ground. Put the icing on an impressive performance by kicking truly after a 50-metre penalty in the third quarter, which effectively brought the margin to an unassailable 25 points in horrible conditions. It was the type of game that could have Houlahan firmly placed into draft calculations.

#7 Liam Stocker

After missing the Vic Metro campaign at the Under 18 National Championships with a broken jaw, Stocker’s Dragons return was nothing short of sensational. The clearance king dominated around stoppages and displayed the scarce ability to not only win the ball on the inside, but find the Sherrin on the outside, too. A genuine midfield bull, Stocker’s road to the draft could be similar to that of Clayton Oliver’s, who also missed the national championships, but dominated the back end of the TAC Cup season to eventually be drafted with pick four. Stocker shrugged off tackles with ease and consistently sent the ball to the hotspot. Menacing when resting up forward, when the ball is in Stocker’s territory, something is going to happen. Plays similarly to Dustin Martin – one to watch closely as the season starts to enter its twilight.

#19 Sam Forbes

Playing a traditional winger role, Forbes was an important outside player in trying conditions. While the St Kevin’s College student isn’t a mass accumulator, he often made possessions count, and on a day where disposal efficiency was understandably down, Forbes’ above-average skills stood out. In addition, he was a consistent outside option, constantly hovering around stoppages.

#33 Will Kennedy

Coming off a strong game against Oakleigh, Kennedy played a centre half-back role against the Knights. An important piece of the Dragons defensive puzzle which were able to rebound any Northern Knights threat on multiple occasions and kept the opposition to a paltry five goals.

#61 Fischer McAsey

The bottom-age ruckman was a strong presence for the majority of the day. More than competitive in ruck contests, McAsey gave the Dragons midfielders regular opportunity. Notably, McAsey’s big frame was well-used to block the defensive 50 exits of the opposition, even despite not intercept marking, creating a strong contest where Dragons ‘crumbers were often beneficiaries.

Northern Knights:

#1 Ryan Gardner

Gardner won plenty of the ball early in the first quarter, on the inside and outside of the contest. He provided plenty of run for the Knights going forward and his ball use was clean, especially on an extremely windy day. Gardner was involved in a crunching tackle from an opposition player half-way through the first term and was unable to take any further part in the game.

#7 Harrison Grace

Grace was involved in the Knights first scoring play of the day, delivering the ball inside 50 to the leading Ryan Bowkett. During the second quarter, Grace spent plenty of time on the bench with what appeared to be a sore back. He was unable to return to the field, leaving the Knights two men short for the remainder of the game.

#15 Oscar White

In only his fifth match of the season, White impressed playing predominately on the wing. He was efficient around stoppages, demonstrating his clean hands in tight situations. During the first quarter, White took a diving mark in the middle of the ground and was able to kick the ball forward, resulting in an important goal for the Knights.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante

The classy forward was instrumental up forward, booting two goals. D’Intinosante has impressive goal sense and always finds a way to hit the scoreboard. His ball use was exceptionally clean in blustery conditions and his decision making was evident. He showcased his defensive pressure with some impressive chase down tackles, proving that he can influence the contest both offensively and defensively.

#30 Justin McInerney

McInerney was significant for the Knights, playing across half-back and on the wing. His speed on the outside was clear and he worked hard to present himself as a strong option for his teammates around the ground. His ball use was good for the majority of the day and he even took some of his teams’ defensive kick-outs.


Oakleigh Chargers vs Eastern Ranges

By James Goller and Scott Dougan

Oakleigh Chargers:

#31 Will Golds
I’ve watched him play a couple of times by today he really stood out. Playing on the wing. Golds had 26 possessions for the day. Golds showed he has really good foot skills on both his left and right. He was the best kick out there. He showed also some speed breaking away from stoppages. What was impressive was the defensive part to his game. Laying four tackles. He was also running hard defensively. Not only that he works himself out of traffic fairly well. Definitely one to keep a eye on.
#5 Xavier O’ Neill
He had really good hands in close. He had a little bit of class about him took the game on at times that paid off. His kicking was solid.
#32 Jack Ross
Ross is a inside mid. He kicked the ball ok and I thought he was composed and made some good decisions with It. Kicked a great clearance goal from about 50 out. With a little bit of wind helping. The big thing for Ross is his defensive pressure. You know what your going to get. He laid seven tackles.
#17 Trent Bianco
The bottom-ager had a really strong game for the chargers collecting 25 possessions for the day. He is a good kick and used that asset of his game well. Bianco is real class and definitely one to keep a eye on for the 2019 draft. His defensive parts to his game were on show having six tackles.

Eastern Ranges:

#11 Mitch Mellis

Mellis started the match on the wing, having a positive effect around stoppages and as an outside runner. He won some early contested possessions and was able to put his speed to good use, bursting away from congestion in tight situations. He found plenty of space on the outside and worked hard to have an influence on the match, but due to the Chargers dominance on the day, his impact was limited.

#23 Xavier Fry

In difficult conditions, Fry’s skills were important for the Ranges when rebounding out of the defensive 50. He spent most of the game across the half-back line but also drifted through the midfield at times. Fry accumulated plenty of possessions and made smart decisions with the ball in hand, rarely turning the ball over. He spreads well from the contest and his work-rate gives him the ability to get involved in many passages of play. Fry was one of the Ranges most dominant players on the day.

#24 Kye Quirk

After amassing 30 disposals for the Ranges last week, Quirk found it difficult to have the same impact against the Chargers. He started the match across half-forward but saw little of the ball, with the Charges booting six goals to the zero in the first quarter. Quirk was at his best in tight, gathering the majority of his possessions in contested situations. He showcased his clean skills throughout the match, especially at ground level. He drifted forward in the fourth quarter and was able to hit the scoreboard, kicking an impressive goal from 40 metres out.


Dandenong Stingrays vs Geelong Falcons

By Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong Stingrays

#13 Riley Bowman

Bowman put a lot of space between his best efforts this Saturday, kicking one goal in the first term and an additional three in the fourth. It was evident in the final quarter that he knew how to work the forward line. Bowman created space leading up the guts and read the ball best in the marking contest, all while positioning himself for the best kick at goal. He was one of Dandenong’s best for the day with his final efforts reminding the competition why the Stingrays are placed at the top. Though in the future, we would prefer to see more consistency across the game. It seems Bowman punished a withering Falcons, sensing weakness in the game’s last moments.

#15 Toby Bedford

When Bedford grips the football, it is not likely a player will bring him to ground. His countless efforts on the contested ball had him take it with ease, showing great agility and control as he passed the ball off to the best option. Despite players hanging off him, he stood his ground and cleaned up the congestion. His ball work was clean, deliberate and effective, often centring the ball and assisting successful link ups through the passage. An instinctive footballer, Bedford showed no trouble beating his opponent on the loose ball and seemed oblivious to pressure. He brought quick hands to everything and remained agile and evasive when it meant feeding off the football. With repeat inside 50s, Bedford had a hand in most goals, directly assisting a couple as well. It’s obvious Dandenong’s midfield would be very different without him gaining the hard ball.

#17 Finlay Bayne

Consistent and effective, Bayne kept himself in form and involved for all four terms. He was great off hands, with line breaking passes and his involvement in a good deal of link ups. He worked his man well around the stoppages and picking up a handful of clearances. He lost the ball on the wing in the Dandenong’s forward half but with a tackle and follow up pressure, he managed to force a turn over. A composed footballer with great vision.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning’s regard for his own safety is quite minimal as evident on the pitch. Charging head on into the contest, De Koning will put his body over the everything. If he was late to the hard ball, he made his opponent earn that possession. He laid strong tackles to help switch momentum and promoted a counter attack which aided in their victory. The aggressive backman provided an offensive brand of defence to the Stingrays backline, keeping his opponents off balance and under pressure as they approach goals. Though wild off the football, De Koning shows great focus with it in hand, switching well and picking the right pass to clear the backline.

#58 William Hamill

Hamill’s efforts off the ball proved just as effective as his ability with it in hands. His defensive work was on display throughout the midfield, as he forced the turnovers and stopped ball carriers in their tracks. Possessions were made to be worked for when Hamill was close by, keeping his man under pressure until the ball released. He opened the game up with his smothering, tackling and general presence around a contest.  In the first quarter, he prevented a definite goal by bringing his opponent to ground. He showed good composure and focus when he set his sights downfield, picking up repeat inside 50s and a beautiful goal on the run from the pocket. It was his presence through midfield that helped trap the ball forward and crushed rising momentum as the Falcon’s propelled forward.


Geelong Falcons

#39 Connor Idun

Showed off his power around stoppages, and lengthy kicks when clearing danger. Idun knows how to use his body to dominate his opponents, powering through congestion and holding his form despite being tackled. He was strong overhead, gaining a few intercepts and winning the contested mark. Idun made no mistake in desperate times, bringing clean hands to the low ball and clearing kicks out from their defensive half. A built unit who offers a lot in the midfield and possibly one of the safest options to hit up in a link.

#44 Sam Conway

Conway dominated the ruck contest despite having his opponent switched on him quite regularly. He proved very adaptable in switching up his approach to different opponents, using a superior leap to get first hands to the ball. He was pivotal to the Falcon’s clearance work out of the midfield, but did not utilise himself well enough out of the ruck work. It would be good to see him collect a few disposals and make an impact in ways outside the bounce.

#48 Blake Schlensog

Though quiet for much of the game, Schlensog had a decent final quarter. The big man led up the ground well and ran hard at the loose ball. He showed no problems getting low to the ground, laying strong tackles and scooping up the football. He is clean off hands and quick for his size. He showed great strength in bringing down Matthew Cumming in front of goal, but was unlucky not to be awarded a free. It was unfortunate that we only saw glimpses of Schlensog’s greatness on Saturday, but the young man was pivotal nonetheless.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp

Hollenkamp marked more of Dandenong’s ball than their forwards, racking up a tonne of intercept marks for the day. Playing out of full back, Hollenkamp often found himself in one on one contests in the square, winning a lot more than he lost. His ability to read the ball and his strong hands overhead, made him near impossible to beat even with added pressure. He positioned himself well and lunged at the footy at the best moment. On the loose ball, he used his body better against his man, taking him out of the contest and rushing it to safety. He was unfortunate a couple times when outnumbered in crucial moments, so had a couple goals kicked on him. Though given that’s the life of a backman, a couple isn’t so bad. Hollenkamp played some elite level defence this weekend and despite being the smaller man, worked his opponent to perfection, rebounding the football countless times.


Calder Cannons vs Western Jets

By Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#8 Lachlan Sholl

In his first TAC Cup outing since returning from Vic Metro duties, Sholl looked a class above. Typically effective by foot, the clever half-back often played a kick behind the ball and intercepted a number of Western’s rushed forays forward with some strong overhead marks. When the ball hit the deck, Sholl showed both a clean pair of hands and heels to set Calder on the attack in a very direct manner. His trap gather at speed in the third quarter was a particular highlight, and had the TAC Cup Radio team fawning over him.

#27 Tye Browning

Browning was another Cannon who looked a step above, despite requiring some time to warm into the contest. His first of two goals came in the opening term with the Cannons only managing to snare five behinds to that stage – it was a tidy snap from about 35 out in blustery RAMS conditions. His hands were strong as we’ve come to expect, with some trademark one-hand gathers catching the eye. Mixing time between the wing and half-forward, Browning made most of his impact during the second half as he found more of the ball in forward positions and ended up with another goal and assist to round out his day.

#30 Mitch Podhajski

Fresh off a successful stint with Coburg in the VFL, Podhajski was near best-on in a hard-working display. Starting in the midfield, the overager worked Jets star Stefan Radovanovic over at the stoppages with some solid contested ball gets as he willed the pill forward. As if he were his side’s barometer, Podhajski came to life in the third quarter with a blistering run from centre half back to assist Will Jury’s goal, while also setting one up for Mohammed Abou-Eid later in the term. Having spent more time forward in the second half, Calder’s co-captain also managed to hit the scoreboard with what was one of two highlight reel moments. His goal came after a desperate run down tackle on Daly Andrews, running on to slot the six-pointer from 50 and displaying his enormous work rate. The second highlight was a contested mark floating in from the side of a pack, but he failed to convert the set shot.


Western Jets:

#17 Daly Andrews

Andrews took guard on the wing and did not stray far from it throughout the match. While the way the game was played didn’t exactly suit his brand of football, Andrews was still able to show off his agility and speed in short bursts. The wingman has a good tendency of keeping his hands free while being tackled, and it proved valuable as it allowed the Jets to keep the ball rolling. Andrews found himself on the outer at most of the stoppages, dipping in at the right moments and dishing out when he managed to snare the ball. He likes to take the game on and went on a big run through the middle of the ground in the third quarter to remind spectators of his presence.

#20 Darcy Cassar

The bottom-ager was hard to miss with his dreadlocks and long sleever, calmly going about his business throughout the day. While he started forward, Cassar pushed hard up the ground and made it to a wealth of contests, often accompanying Lachie Sholl at the stoppages early on. A clever user of the ball by hand, Cassar looked unfazed under pressure and is a natural footballer. He copped a heavy knock in the second half from a marking contest which looked to have taken him out of the game.

#37 Hamish Murphy

Murphy had the tough job of accompanying an in-form Jake Riccardi in the early stages of the game, and did relatively well to keep the mobile forward goaless despite his dominance. Riccardi almost caught him out with a fumbled mark, while also catching him holding the ball, but Murphy kept at it and was more composed leading into the main break. The key back looked at his best when the ball hit the deck where he gathered well, ran his measure and delivered the ball effectively. Unfortunately, there was not much he could do in the face of the Cannons second half onslaught.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic

Another star returning from Vic Metro duties, Radovanovic put in a solid shift for his side. Plying his trade further up the ground in the midfield, Radovanovic was a presence at the stoppages and tried hard to get his trademark run going. While he was caught holding the ball early, the Jet was confident enough to stand in tackles and take them on with good aggression. The highlight of his game was a lunging tackle on Tye Browning in the second quarter which prevented a near-certain major. He was solid defensively, but turned the ball over a few times with rushed kicks out of congestion as Western struggled to find their way forward in the second half.


Gippsland Power vs. Murray Bushrangers

By Craig Byrnes

Gippsland Power:

#2 Caleb Serong

Coming off an impressive Vic Country campaign across half forward, the talented bottom ager was given the opportunity to spend long minutes through the midfield and was arguably the most influential player on the ground. He started Gippsland’s dominance with an intercept and two class inside 50s before producing the highlight of the day, an instinctive torpedo from the arc that sailed through the goals with minimal effort. He was brilliantly clean in the slippery conditions and just as effectively defensively, laying eight tackles and doing so with physical intent. A second goal came in the third with a brilliant left foot snap, before eventually ending a quality outing with 23 disposals and five clearances.

#9 Irving Mosquito

The Hawthorn Next Generation Academy prospect provided the spark for Gippsland’s fast start, kicking two vital first quarter goals that were worth much more in the horrendous conditions. The first came from a clever crumb, before finding space inside 50 and rolling onto his trusty left boot in characteristic fashion. He was in and out of the game from there on, but the damage was already done in a low scoring contest. He went to the midfield and won some vital clearances, finishing the day with nine disposals and four tackles.

#12 Brock Smith

The reliable bottom age defender didn’t have a whole lot to do as Gippsland dominated possession in the forward half, but did his job well when called upon. He reads the play well and is often found in the prime position against his opponent when the ball arrives. He is a fighter and would have been frustrated to have given away an unlucky free kick inside 50 to Barzen in the final term.

#16 Josh Smith

With Rylan Henkel a late withdrawal due to illness, Smith was forced to take on the ruck load with fellow 17 year-old Marcus Toussaint against Vic Country ruckman Mark Marriott. Giving seven centimetres to his opponent and having to attend many stoppages due to the heavy conditions, Smith exceeded expectations to be one of Gippsland’s best. He competed all day to win 16 hitouts, but made his physical presence known at ground level to lay seven tackles and even cleanly gain possession on occasions. Consecutive intercept marks on the far wing topped off an admirable performance.

#23 Noah Gown

The talented basketballer has been making plenty of noise up forward in recent weeks, but was required to start in defence on Hudson Garoni in the absence of Kyle Reid. While the ball hardly entered Murray’s forward arc, Gown’s close checking literally restricted his highly regarded opponent to zero impact. Garoni did not look himself and came off at half-time, which freed Gown up to go forward. He once again looked dangerous, creating anxiety for his opponent with smart leads and presence. A brilliant one-on-one strength win against Nick Murray in the third term saw him gather possession, turn and calmly kick a goal. Potential bolter.

#29 Boadie Motton

I have been a bit of Boadie Motton advocate for some time now and he continues to provide those AFL attributes that can be easily missed on first glance. He is such a clean and efficient, one touch footballer. After getting an awkwardly spinning wet ball to ground in the first term, he followed up brilliantly to gather and deliver inside 50 to Mosquito for a goal assist. His sharp releases often get teammates into offensive positions that are difficult to defend once executed. He is defensively relevant too, laying nine tackles including a vital holding the ball in the corridor early in the game. If there is one area of improvement, it is turning more of those 15-20 disposal games into 25-30 versions.

Murray Bushrangers:

#5 Ely Smith

Coming off a typically prolific Vic Country debut the week before, the big bodied Smith continued his outstanding form in weather made for his style of play. He is a true stoppage specialist, using his strength to protect his position and powerfully breakaway or push through congestion. His use of the ball was good considering the heavy ball and the contested nature of his possessions, even though an occasional handball missed the intended target. He finished brilliantly on the run with a banana goal in the fourth term to end a solid outing with 30 disposals, eight clearances and six tackles.

#7 Zane Barzen

The extremely talented Barzen started in defence and provided moments throughout the day, as he has done all year without reaching his full potential. He provided a couple of strong defensive one on one efforts deep in the back half, read the play well and rebounded attractively with ball in hand. He moved forward in the second half and looked dangerous on occasions despite the lack of supply, highlighted by a diving lead and nice set shot late. But he has so much more to give and hopefully the talented Shepparton product can get close to his high ceiling by the end of the season.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Another bottom-aged player who was a clear standout for their team, Ash singlehandedly ended numerous potentially dangerous Gippsland chains throughout the day. He was one of the few Bushrangers who found time under pressure, calmly moving through traffic with elite lateral movement on occasions and getting the ball forward. He read the play superbly and put his body on the line, courageously running back with the flight to intercept or acrobatically spoiling to advantage as he did in the second and third terms. A prolific third quarter in particular saved Murray more scoreboard misery and he would end the day with 26 disposals to rival Serong for best on ground honours.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Playing mostly as a small forward option, Chalcraft made the most of the limited opportunities inside 50 to have an impact. He took a brilliantly clean mark on the lead in the second term which unfortunately wouldn’t be paid due to a free further up the ground, but it showcased his elite hands in the slop. He provided another clean moment later in the quarter to gather a ground ball and smartly draw the high free kick inside 50. He missed the set shot, but didn’t waste his next chance in the third term when finding space in the pocket and snapping the set shot to finally bring up the Bushrangers first goal.

#16 Nick Murray

The Bushranger’s number one key defender had plenty to do as Gippsland bombarded its forward arc with entrances throughout the day. He rotated through many opponents including Gown in the second half, throwing his fist at any aerial ball to ensure the contest was killed. He looked hell bent on breaking spoil records Harris Andrews style at times and was rarely, if at all beaten in the air. His only blemish was losing a battle of strength against Gown in the third term that resulted in a goal. You could not question his effort though.

#23 Mark Marriott

The 201cm ruckman was dominant at the stoppages in the absence of Henkel with 31 hitouts, but couldn’t replicate the impact of his opponents at ground level, especially defensively. He gave Ely Smith some silver service at times and possesses good peripheral vision, but it would have been nice to see some greater physical intent and to see him take control as the most experienced ruckman on the ground.

#28 Kyle Clarke

The small midfielder come forward was one of Murray’s better contributors for the day, fighting offensively and defensively to collect 21 disposals, four clearances and eight tackles. He arguably provided the greatest intent on a poor day for his side, highlighted by a multiple effort play defensively in the second term that set up a rare score. While his kicking was a bit messy overall, he hit a diving Chalcraft lace out with a bullet in the centre of the ground during the third term, after taking an impressive mark from the kick out.

Scouting notes: Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges

SANDRINGHAM Dragons got the job done against Eastern Ranges in the standalone TAC Cup game on Saturday and Scott Dougan watched on to take note of the extended Victorian squad players who took part in the match.

Eastern Ranges:

#24 Kye Quirk

On a wet day, in a scrappy contest, Quirk tried his hardest to move the ball forward when possible. He played as a midfielder and worked hard to link up with his teammates. His agility in tight situations came in handy as he tried to find space in a contested game. Quirk tackled strongly and amassed plenty of possessions in all areas of the ground, making him one of the Ranges best.

#23 Xavier Fry

Fry played the majority of the game on the half-back flank but also contributed to the Ranges midfield at times. He was one of very few players that were clean in wet conditions. Fry’s speed and agility were important for the Ranges when rebounding defensive 50. His ball use was brilliant, especially in the second quarter when he hit Dermot Reynolds with an opposite foot kick.

#42 Tom Lockman

The wet and windy conditions did not suit Lockman and he struggled to have an impact. A quiet game, but he did impress with a big tackle deep inside 50 in the second quarter. His continuous efforts in bringing the ball to ground level in marking contests helped the Ranges small forwards.


#2 Alastair Richards

Richards was able to impact the contest with his speed, defensive pressure and decision making. He played on the wing in the first quarter and showed off his pace and composure. He lowered his eyes on multiple occasions when moving the ball forward, trying to find the best available target. In the fourth quarter, he delivered a beautiful kick inside 50 to Dawit McNeish, who kicked the sealer for the Dragons.

#6 Harry Houlahan

The midfielder was a consistent performer over four quarters for the Dragons. He had no trouble finding the ball in all areas of the ground and spent the majority of the game in the middle of the ground. He caught the eye in the third quarter when he took the game on through the middle of the ground, kicking the ball deep inside forward to the advantage of his teammates.

#7 Liam Stocker

Stocker was involved in the first two passages of play in the game, which resulted in a goal to Charlie Dean. He put his head over the ball relentlessly and demonstrated his strength in contested situations. He accumulated plenty of the ball and his clearance work was a standout.

#19 Sam Forbes

Forbes made good decisions when he had the ball and his skills were noticeable in sloppy conditions. The penetration and accuracy of his kicks when entering the forward 50 proved difficult for the Ranges to defend at times. A good game off half-back.

#33 Will Kennedy

Kennedy’s defensive work was fabulous and he showed that he can play multiple positions, drifting forward in the last quarter. When defending, he was able to spoil the ball in marking contests and also when he got caught behind on the lead. His ball use was clean and he showed composure for a big man. He didn’t have the same impact forward as he did defensively, but he provided some strong leads and competed hard.

#61 Fischer McAsey

Due to the conditions, McAsey also found it difficult to get involved. His kick inside 50 in the second term resulted in a goal to George Grey. In the third quarter, McAsey led strongly to a kick inside 50 from Forbes and was rewarded with a free kick. He put the Dragons two points ahead after successfully converting the goal.

Team Selection: Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges

WITH the Vic Metro and school football bye, both the Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges will head into their standalone Round 9 clash with fairly healthy looking sides. Alastair Richards and Xavier Fry return for their respective teams after a stint with Vic Metro and one would assume they are not playing in Wednesday’s final clash against South Australia. Those still missing from the team include Ben King, Bailey Smith, Angus Hanrahan and James Rendell (Sandringham) as well as James Blanck (Eastern) who look to have retained their spots in the Metro side for Wednesday’s clash – deservedly so with some impressive performances at National level.

The Dragons are bolstered with the return of Dawit McNeish, Nicholas Stamatis and Ryan O’Meara who are among eight inclusions, while Kai Owens, Sam Sofronidis and Harry Bede are among six confirmed outs. For the Ranges, they have also made a number of changes, with Fry leading eight inclusions, while six players have been confirmed as outs. Caleb Quirk and Thomas Lockman are among those into the side, while Callum Norris and Jarrod Gilbee were listed among the omissions.

The ladder ramifications from the clash are simple – if Sandringham can win, the Dragons will leapfrog Oakleigh Chargers into fifth. If Eastern Ranges win, they will leapfrog the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels into tenth. A large enough win could also see them overtake Geelong Falcons in ninth. But after a loss last round, the Ranges will just be keen to bounce back and record their third win in four games. The midfield clash should be enticing with Richards, Liam Stocker and Harry Houlahan taking on Kye Quirk, Adrian Kalcovski and Joel Burleigh in the middle with Darcy Chirgwin and Mitch Mellis among the outside runners.

The key position defenders in Will Kennedy and Corey Watts have been in good form of late for the Dragons and will look to contain the Eastern forward line. The Eastern defence has been solid as well with Ben Cardamone regaining his early season form and will look to combine with Fry for some good rebound out of the back half. In a game where Sandringham will rightfully head in as favourites at home, Eastern will hope its midfield can get on top and kick a winning score.



Round 9 – Saturday, June 30, 12pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

Sandringham Dragons

B: 18. A. Seaton, 69. C. Watts, 45. J. Voss
HB: 14. R. O’Meara, 33. W. Kennedy, 11. N. Stamatis
C: 72. D.  Chirgwin, 2. A.  Richards, 19. S.  Forbes
HF: 17. J. Denborough, 48. J. Worrell, 39. J. Florent
F: 13. T. Brimble, 61. F. McAsey, 52. C. Dean
R: 59. A. Courtney, 6. H. Houlahan, 7. L. Stocker
Int: 36. M. Bergman, 51. N. Burke, 66. R. Byrnes, 26. F. Maginness, 21. D. McNeish, 53. H. Ralphsmith, 46. L. Witts
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: R. Byrnes, G. Grey, D. McNeish, A. Richards, N. Stamatis, R. O’Meara, L. Witts, M. Bergman
Out: C. Jones,  L. Butler,  C. Langford,  K. Owens,  S. Sofronidis,  H. Bede

Eastern Ranges

B: 10. C. Black, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i, 20. B. Cardamone
HB: 23. X. Fry, 18. B. McCormack, 25. L. Vassis
C: 4. R.  Clausen, 8. J.  Burleigh, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 1. B. Bredin, 42. T. Lockman, 3. H. Chinn
F: 27. J. Jaworski, 36. S. Kapahnke, 28. L. Kruger
R: 58. R. Smith, 24. K. Quirk, 2. A. Kalcovski
Int: 38. M. Briggs, 53. J. Drake, 5. R. Einsporn, 16. T. Garner, J. Kritopoulos, 22. C. Quirk, 33. B. Tahlambouris
23P: 51. D. Reynolds

In: J. Drake, B. Tahlambouris, D. Reynolds, T. Lockman, M. Briggs, J. Kritopoulos, C. Quirk, X. Fry
Out: C. Leon, L. Munro, L. Gawel, C. Norris, K. Crosby, J. Gilbee